Sound United has been sold....

ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Overlord
I was hoping for something more in the lines of "I don't know about you guys, but I've had it up to here with these ridiculous speaker measurements from these $30K B&W speakers! About time we make them accurate!" :D
That's what WE want them to be thinking...
But they didn't buy in to fix B&W.

I see a tax write off for a few years as they lose money. ;)
 
Wayde Robson

Wayde Robson

Audioholics Anchorman
One thing I learned about Masimo that I didn't include in the article... There are at least a few lawsuits against the company, one is from Apple for using IP owned by Apple in one of its devices. But I don't think that's uncommon, I don't think it's interesting that tech companies sue each other over IP, I'm sure it happens all the time.

There have also been, or possibly still are, suits against Kiani's Patient Safety Movement Foundation. Not a lot and not having any expertise with court documents, I didn't want to attempt to even summarize or derive any practical meaning from it. I assume that any business in medicine large enough will have legal hurdles, medicine is notoriously litigious.

But the Apple one did make me think that maybe with Masimo building more personal health devices that rely on wireless communication, perhaps Sound United has patents that Masimo is interested in using.
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
I’m sorry, but this sounds like the death of these brands. Shame on the previous owners for selling, or for not selling to an appropriate buyer.

Greed is all that is at play here.
 
MR.MAGOO

MR.MAGOO

Audioholic Field Marshall
Well at least the guy who founded Masimo has degrees in Electrical Engineering. That will come in handy because Sound United products use electricity. :cool:
 
Knottian

Knottian

Audiophyte
Hello all, new poster but longtime lurker. I've been a fan of the majority of Sound United brands for over a decade; started out my love of audio equipment after upgrading from a small Yamaha speaker set to the Polk T line years ago and have been amassing better speakers and gear ever since. Everything I've owned from B&W, Polk, and Denon has been stellar thus far and it's confusing to see a medical device supplier buy these fantastic brands, with seemingly no expertise or value-add to any of the aforementioned brands.

Acquisitions are of high interest to me, but there's usually a sensible draw for the purchaser, and with this one I can't find any. I'm trying not to be pessimistic, but the best-case scenario I can even come up with is that Masimo takes a limited-integration approach and lets the brands operate as they have been. With Polk's resurgance because of the Reserve and Legend Series, Denon releasing one of the only affordable fully-feature HDMI 2.1 receivers out there (the 760h), and B&W's recent lineup refresh, I can't help but feel gutted that these brands may not continue what I felt was an upward trajectory again (like them or not, they all have a deserved space in the audio industry).
 
Knottian

Knottian

Audiophyte
An intriguing write-up, Wayde. Thank you.
In the end, patience is still advised! ;)
We likely won't see any effect until 2023 at the earliest. I think most telling will be how long until they spin off unwanted parts...
What the hell is Boston Acoustic doing for the last couple years, anyway!?!!
The rest of the different brands all hold some promise. :)

(And I do have fond memories of my Dad's BA Speakers and would love to see them stick around! ;) )
Just read the writeup as well, making a little less concerned I suppose... I was just getting used to having a single support account for my Sound United brand products, so at the very least I hope they don't piecemeal any of my favorites. I'm with you though, I hadn't heard anything from Boston Acoustics for some time and in fact, their website had been running an expired SSL cert for months; I contact them last October and I never received a response but their site is working with a proper cert now... so someone got the message.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
IMHO...
Besides Sound United just being sold, is that they have too many loudspeaker brands..
One can see even with (2) electronic brands, they are having difficulty positioning them strategically....
Today the CE marketplace besides Best Buy, has fewer sellers and is dominated by internet sellers who sell mainly on price. So the only other distribution channel options are the Custom AV Install specialist or the higher-end esoteric component guys that sell $2K AC cables....

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
Out-Of-Phase

Out-Of-Phase

Audioholic General
I can't help but wonder what's going to happen to Classé stereo? Designed in Canada, made in Japan with quality parts.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
IMHO...
Besides Sound United just being sold, is that they have too many loudspeaker brands..
One can see even with (2) electronic brands, they are having difficulty positioning them strategically....
Today the CE marketplace besides Best Buy, has fewer sellers and is dominated by internet sellers who sell mainly on price. So the only other distribution channel options are the Custom AV Install specialist or the higher-end esoteric component guys that sell $2K AC cables....

Just my $0.02... ;)
Let me translate that for you. They can not sell the products they have and can only make money by fraud. Why is this and what is the solution?

The solution is partnerships. The partnerships need to be broad.

There are too many products, especially speakers and most not very good.

The other issue is complexity. Members here are an elite tech savvy group. Most of the public, especially most potential customers have no clue how to connect modern equipment up. They often search and pay high prices for vintage gear as id you connect A to B and switch it on, it works, with no GUI fussing.

The arts are trying valiantly to produce high quality AV streams, but their potential customers have no clue how to get the stream except on an iPhone, iPad or computer speakers.

So manufacturers need to partner with arts organizations, retailers, installers architects and builders. This now requires everyone on board. That also involves getting involved with certification of all parts of the chain. That means partnership with organizations like CEDIA.

The obsolescence issue also needs to be solved. Gene on a YouTube video was talking about people selecting speakers for life, and I agree. Electronics needs to be modular, upgradable and easily serviceable, preferably onsite. So people need to able to choose their electronics for life. Reliability needs to improve enormously.

Peter Walker of Quad was always a visionary. His last preamp, the Quad 44 was modular. After his death no one had the wit to produce updated modules. This brings us to another point there needs to be far greater standardization, so that you can have a power supply rack and slot in units for the functions you need, easily, and keep your equipment current instead of regular trips to the recycling center and polluting the world, throwing out badly designed black boxes inappropriately stuffed with inaccessible circuit boards. Design currently is just awful

Things need to change radically, and that would increase income for all with a stake in the game form artist to vendor, designer, builder, installer. The end result would then be a huge increase in the quality of life for many. What we have at the moment is complex mayhem excluding the many from the benefits this technology can and should provide.
 
Knottian

Knottian

Audiophyte
Can't speak for Gene but... :)
Clearly Sound United has too many loudspeaker brands, look for the new owner to spin a few off...
Here is where in my opinion they missed the boat..
SoundBars, BT smart speakers and headphones categories all had significant sales growth for the last 3 years and are projected to increase by 12% up to 2025. The soundbars have grown along with the flat panel HD displays, as the market demand for bigger screen sizes also to support increased demand for better surround audio including Dolby Atmos and DTS-X. Here the audio brands need to compete in the growth categories as they deliver a higher profit margin than AVRs...

Just my $0.02... ;)
My hope is that Boston Acoustics is the one spun off, if any are; they haven't been active for some time and unlike Polk and B&W (and some cases DefTech) aren't being awarded honors from some of the bigger outlets/reviewers. Spin them off and you have coverage for three market sectors. Not sure if any others would need to be sold or spun off, as I don't see too much in the way of overlap of Denon, Marantz, and Classe.

Of course, this is assuming the most positive intent from Masimo post-closure. I'm wary of course, but seeing other markets where acquisitions have been beneficial to the purchased company (including with Polk and Sound United, arguably), I'm trying to be cautiously optimistic.
 
Knottian

Knottian

Audiophyte
Well, regardless of our thoughts about the acquisition, I think some potentially-positive early signs are presenting themselves given that we’ve already gotten two significant product line updates from B&W. It may be wishful naivety but I’m just hoping that their brands are left relatively hands-off rather than having non-audio executives tinkering with elements they don’t understand; often I see acquired companies succeed because of said laissez-faire approach, or fail entirely because of the micromanagement of the new parent.
 
R

rnatalli

Audioholic Ninja
You are 200% correct. Appliances have become a F*cking joke in build quality and reliability. My brand new house has a top of the line GE Profile Diswasher and the racks come out of the machine because they couldn't use real wheels as casters. Instead they had crappy plastic tabs that came off and melted in the heat. I had to bitch at GE for 3 months and have them come back multiple times until they fixed it and still NOT using real wheels like my mom has in her 20yo GE Profile dishwasher.
How did I miss this? I have been ranting about appliances for some time now. One thing I've learned is just buy the cheap models as the more expensive models are no better and certainly not more reliable.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
How did I miss this? I have been ranting about appliances for some time now. One thing I've learned is just buy the cheap models as the more expensive models are no better and certainly not more reliable.
I tell you what you do, you make friends with a repair guy or two. I go down to the Appliance Depot just passed the end of the road. Ron sells, repairs and recycles appliances. He know the goods on the whole lot, and has some choice exhibits of failed parts to bring out to make the point. If I can buy from him, I always do and he can beat the big box stores. I keep a cadre of useful, knowledgeable, experienced and pleasant old guys in my circle and always have.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Followup about Masimo possibly separating the Sound United Audio brands to a Masimo Consumer entity or sell them off to a private equity firm. What do you guys think will happen?

 
Bobby Bass

Bobby Bass

Audioholic Chief
Followup about Masimo possibly separating the Sound United Audio brands to a Masimo Consumer entity or sell them off to a private equity firm. What do you guys think will happen?

Good question. It depends on Which option is the most profitable. In my experience it’s follow the money. The money is in healthcare but the passion is in the hi-fi. That’s why my heart alway gets my wallet in trouble.
 
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TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Followup about Masimo possibly separating the Sound United Audio brands to a Masimo Consumer entity or sell them off to a private equity firm. What do you guys think will happen?

Gene, its "The writing on the Wall." You could see this coming. Masimo found home HT and audio are not profitable and I also suspect they have become too much of a diversion from their core mission.

I have posted about this a fair bit. The problem is the whole hobby is stifled by its infrastructure and is in effect fossilized.

I think the outlook is grim, unless an outfit with enough capital and vision buys it and makes radical change.

We need to take a literal wrecking ball to current practice and systems, and we need to have home builder associations on board.

There are no home builders that I know of that can, or know how to build a home with a modern Ethernet infrastructure for a start.

This will lead to a knock on effect of loss of good streaming sites and forget hard copies. So the whole arena is in grave danger of falling into a death spiral.
I personally am very pessimistic for high quality AV on the home.

Note to all: keep your gear in good working order and don't abuse it. It won't be long before you can't replace it.
 
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